Cover of From Energy to Information by Edited by Bruce Clarke 

and Linda Dalrymple Henderson
From Energy to Information
Representation in Science and Technology, Art, and Literature
Edited by Bruce Clarke and Linda Dalrymple Henderson


464 pages.

Paperback ISBN: 9780804742108



This book offers an innovative examination of the interactions of science and technology, art, and literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Scholars in the history of art, literature, architecture, computer science, and media studies focus on five historical themes in the transition from energy to information: thermodynamics, electromagnetism, inscription, information theory, and virtuality.

Different disciplines are grouped around specific moments in the history of science and technology in order to sample the modes of representation invented or adapted by each field in response to newly developed scientific concepts and models. By placing literary fictions and the plastic arts in relation to the transition from the era of energy to the information age, this collection of essays discovers unexpected resonances among concepts and materials not previously brought into juxtaposition. In particular, it demonstrates the crucial centrality of the theme of energy in modernist discourse. Overall, the volume develops the scientific and technological side of the shift from modernism to postmodernism in terms of the conceptual crossover from energy to information.

The contributors are Christoph Asendorf, Ian F. A. Bell, Robert Brain, Bruce Clarke, Charlotte Douglas, N. Katherine Hayes, Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Bruce J. Hunt, Douglas Kahn, Timothy Lenoir, W. J. T. Mitchell, Marcos Novak, Edward Shanken, Richard Shiff, David Tomas, Sha Xin Wei, and Norton Wise.

About the authors

Bruce Clarke is Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Interaction of the Arts and Sciences at Texas Tech University. He is the author, most recently, of Energy Forms: Allegory and Science in the Era of Classical Thermodynamics. Linda Dalrymple Henderson is David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor in Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author, most recently, of Duchamp in Context: Science and Technology in the Large Glass and Related Early Works.

"The essays in this remarkable collection are productively disruptive of disciplinary and historical boundaries, richly detailed, and elegantly argued. Written by some of the leading figures in the history of art, literary studies, and science studies (as well as a handful of emerging stars), these essays are virtuoso performances that will capture a wide audience in a number of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields."

—David Horn, Ohio State University

"Beyond the intrinsic merit of the essays in From Energy to Information, the collection also demonstrates the payoff of such work for our understanding of major issues in modernism and postmodernism."